When I returned to my locker after swimming my 60 lengths, my stuff was gone. Imagine my surprise - I fumbled to get the yellow plastic bracelet with the key off my arm, put the key in the lock, unlocked... and none of my stuff was there.
This doesn't mean that the locker was empty. The stuff inside simply didn't belong to me. I checked the numbers on bracelet and locker. You never know, sometimes a key fits several locks at a place. I mean, the number of key variations is limited, no? They matched. And now that I thought of it, I remembered that I had put my clothes here. There were the letters someone had scratched into the cheap plastic surface of the door. A.M. - I wondered what that was supposed to mean?
I started freezing. No surprise there, I was dripping wet and wrapped only in a damp towel, with my hair clinging to my back like black water snakes.
Tentatively, I took the clothes out of the locker. They were my size. Didn't even look too bad. What could I do? I took them to a changing cubicle and started to dress. After all, I couldn't run around in my bikini all the time. Outside, it was cold, and it was a long way to my hotel. Maybe I could talk to somebody on my way out, leave my phone number, and wait till they sorted everything out. All I wanted to do was fall into my bed. Oh wait, my phone was in my purse. Which had disappeared.
Which brought me to the next problem - no hotel keys. The closes fit a little loosely over my boobs, but I didn't look exactly like a scarecrow. I even found a tiny hairbrush in the purse. My lucky day, obviously, at least I got to borrow woman's clothes. Rummaging through a foreigner's stuff also left me with a wallet, complete with ID and a set of keys with an address tag.
The pool attendant didn't understand a word I was saying. No surprise there, since I don't speak Japanese. And he pretended not to know any English. He only looked at me, smiled and raised his hands in this "I'm innocent" way. What could I do? I left.
Outside, I grabbed a cab, conveniently parked right outside the building, and stopped. Where would I go? To my hotel, trying to explain the whole weird situation to someone who didn't speak my language? A coffee shop?
The driver looked at me expectantly. I told him to drive me to my hotel. As soon as I had everything sorted out, I would return the money to the person's wallet. My thoughts raced ahead. What to do next? Call my bank, cancel my cards. Fill out loads of paperwork for new ID, passport and everything. Maybe my mobile company could trace my phone? Naw, they'd probably decline and tell me it was impossible.
To distract myself from all the problems awaiting me, I took a closer look at the ID card I had found in the purse. The stranger looked slightly like me - or I like her - only with shorter hair and glasses. Okay, her jawline was a little bit more delicate than mine, but - no one would notice. A strange thought crossed my mind. I shook my head, but it wouldn't disappear. And - why not?
"I changed my mind", I told the taxi driver and showed him the address tag. "Take me there, please." Then I leaned back in my seat and closed my eyes.
From that moment, things only got worse.